Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and the period of UK-wide lockdown AFBI has continued to deliver its key animal health and food safety work programmes, in support of DAERA and the agri-food industry. One example of that has been AFBI’s BVD testing work with the scientific team at the Stormont laboratories working unabated throughout the pandemic to ensure that test results were delivered to the same high standard that AFBI customers have come to expect.
BVD has severe effects on animal health and welfare and farm profitability. The NI BVD eradication programme led by Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI) is designed to identify persistently infected (PI) calves and remove these animals from the herd. PI animals are highly contagious and shed vast amounts of virus throughout their lives, continuing the cycle of re-infection of the herd and creating further PI’s. It is the rapid identification and removal of PI cattle that is the key to eradication control.
The Veterinary Sciences Division (VSD) at AFBI Stormont is the longest established BVD testing laboratory in Northern Ireland, with testing accredited to ISO17025 standards. Each sample is processed and tested by experienced scientific staff, with numerous checks at each step of the process, prior to final veterinary sign off, and upload to (AHWNI) database. This comprehensive procedure ensures the highest quality standards are met and maintained, minimising the risk of inaccurate results or the potential for false positives, giving confidence to the farmer to make the necessary decisions to control BVD on farm. Despite all of the challenges of lockdown, AFBI have continued to prioritise and complete BVD testing to industry leading standards while still maintaining the 1 day median turnaround of results
To help ensure that testing operates as effectively as possible calves should be tagged within 7 days of birth and samples send to the laboratory as soon as possible. Please ensure the postage is correct. Please complete submission forms accurately, detailing the full animal ID number and the herd number to which the calf is registered on APHIS. This will improve testing efficiency and ensure that the herd owner receives accurate results more quickly enabling a more rapid removal of PI animals from the herd. AFBI accepts both postal and hand-delivered samples dropped to AFBI Stormont, VSD.
AFBI continues to support the farming community across Northern Ireland with the provision of a high quality BVD testing facility, as well as an extensive range of other diagnostic tests, along with advice from our veterinary experts, helping to ensure the continued success of farming in Northern Ireland.
Notes to editors:
- AFBI is an arms-length body of DAERA delivering research and development, diagnostic and analytical testing, emergency response capability and expert scientific advice for DAERA and other government departments, public bodies and commercial companies in Northern Ireland, and further afield.
- AFBI’s Vision is “Advancing the Local and Global Agri-Food Sectors Through Scientific Excellence”.
- AFBI’s core areas:
- Leading improvements in the agrifood industry;
- Protecting animal, plant and human health;
- Enhancing the natural and marine environment.
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